Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
Hardcover – First Second – Jul 2020 – 233 pages
This 25th anniversary edition brings this rich and moving tale of identity and resistance is back in print—complete with an updated introduction from Alison Bechdel, rare photographs, and unpublished archival material that give a thorough, behind-the-scenes look at this graphic novel masterpiece.
As a young gay man leading a closeted life in the 1960s American South, Toland Polk tries his best to keep a low profile. He’s aware of the racial injustice all around him—the segregationist politicians, the corrupt cops, the violent Klan members—but he feels powerless to make a difference. That all changes when he crosses paths with an impassioned coed named Ginger Raines.
Ginger introduces him to a lively and diverse group of civil rights activists, folk singers, and night club performers—men and women who live authentically despite the conformist values of their hometown. Emboldened by this new community, Toland joins the local protests and even finds the courage to venture into a gay bar.
No longer content to stay on the sidelines, Toland joins his friends as they fight against bigotry. But in Clayfield, Alabama, that can be dangerous—even deadly.